Sunday, March 31, 2013

Twin Cities Beer: New and Old

Since we moved out of the Twin Cities nearly three years ago the craft beer scene has really been picking up. New breweries are opening at a pace that would be astonishing if not for the fact that the pace is as rapid if not faster in Portland. In addition, "The Surly Bill" was passed which will allow Surly Brewing to build their destination brewery as well as making the laws more favorable in general for breweries.

Thanks to some great friends I've been able to try some beers from the new places that have opened but that's nothing compared to actually visiting the breweries. While I didn't have enough time to make it around to all the new places my lovely "tour guides" Kat and Scott took me to two of their favorites (after putting down a good jiffy burger base at The Blue Door Pub St. Paul).

The interior of Dangerous Man has an industrial bent.

The first stop was Dangerous Man Brewing located in the heart of Northeast Minneapolis. Dangerous Man doesn't bottle any of their beer and due to recent demand they're limiting growler sales to a mere 10 per day, one per person. The place was packed when we arrived post-lunch although we were able to get our beer fairly quickly. Of the five beers on tap I was only uninterested in one - German Kolsch - simply because I'm not a great fan of the style. The three of us shared "short pours" (10 oz) of the other four - Double IPA, Matchbox Coffee Porter, Chocolate Milk Stout and El Dorado Rye.

L to R: Double IPA, Coffee Porter, Milk Stout & Rye

I'd heard great things about the Chocolate Milk Stout, most notably that it was adult chocolate milk, and it lived up to the billing 100%. The porter surprised me with the depth of flavor and just the right amount of coffee and the rye, while being one of the most rye-forward beers I've had, was very enjoyable. The Double IPA was a bit much on the booze profile for me but still an enjoyable and well-made beer.

Indeed's taproom uses more classic touches.

Next we headed over to Indeed Brewing which Kat had described it as the most Portland-esque taproom in the Twin Cities. She was right. Just the feel of Indeed was more to my liking with the classic wood bar, exposed brick wall and shuffleboard table. Indeed does bottle some of their beers and I had been lucky enough to try a bottle of their flagship Day Tripper American Pale Ale earlier this year.

Pretzels and Hot Box

They had that on tap along with three others that we shared - Midnight Ryder American Black Ale, Hot Box Imperial Smoked Pepper Porter and Burr Grinder Beer Coffee Ale. The Coffee Ale didn't do much for me and the Hot Box was heavy on the smoke but the Midnight Ryder was very good. I had commented earlier in the day that I prefer smoked beers with food instead of on their own so Kat grabbed a bag of Sully's Sweet & Heat Pretzels from the food truck parked outside. They increased my enjoyment of Hot Box considerably and even improved the Coffee Ale.

After that it was time to head to a couple of old favorites, places that a trip back wouldn't be complete without - Town Hall Brewery and Great Waters. Town Hall's weekly Pint Club from 4 - 5 pm Saturdays brought in many familiar faces and I got my French fry fix (theirs are the best on the planet hands down). The stop at Great Waters was a bit unplanned, I'd been hoping to take in Sunday Mug Club there, but due to the "holiday" they would be closed. Still I got to see a favorite bartender, Chuck, and enjoy a pint of St. Peter Pale Ale.

It was a great day of drinking new and old in Minnesota; one I would have liked to make two-day adventure. However due to lovely Minnesota laws, taprooms are not allowed to be open on Sundays (oh, and neither are liquor stores...the only place one can buy beer) so whatever beer I'll enjoy for the remainder of my time will be at a bar (which are allowed to be open) or from a friend's cellar.


  1. I should really keep a closer on eye on the beer scene here in Minnesota. I had no idea about either of those but they are both going on my list to visit...whenever we take a break and get up there.

  2. It's hard with all the new places that seem to be popping up left and right. It does help that these two are fairly close together, and not far from other good places, too.
    MNBeer, either their website or by following them on Twitter, is a great way to keep an eye on what's happening.